371. Letter From Ambassador-at-Large and Special Representative for Non-Proliferation Matters Smith to President Carter 1

Dear Mr. President:

I understand that Schmidt referred to your non-proliferation pol-icy at Guadalupe2 and according to the report I had from State Secretary Hermes in Bonn last week Schmidt expressed concern about a possible U.S.-Canadian-Australian uranium cartel.3 On this score during these Bonn discussions the Germans, while saying there was much agreement between the U.S. and German positions on nonproliferation, also said our legislation was discriminatory and they felt that the United States was now a less reliable supplier than before the legislation.

In subsequent talks at Paris with my opposite number, Andre Jacomet, he reported that the Germans had said they were tempted to support the position of the Group of 77 who apparently believe that the United States is not living up to its NPT commitment to assure a full flow of nuclear technology and material to the non-weapon states.4 I think this reported attitude is more a matter of “letting off steam” than a real German position but it suggests that nonproliferation can be a highly divisive issue in relations with the Federal Republic.

The French also reported that the Italians were bitter about having joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty and apparently are sympathetic to [Page 944] the developing countries’ position that renunciation of weapons plus acceptance of safeguards is adequate assurance against the spread of nuclear weapons.5

Jacomet also said that Hermes (FRG) reported that the U.S. was now in agreement with the FRG on the Brazilian deal.6 We are asking Ambassador Stoessel to correct this impression.

As evidence of how ticklish the domestic nuclear situation is in Germany—we were advised that if the recent vote on going ahead with the Kalkar breeder had not passed the Bundestag “owing to 6 abstentions”, the breeder issue could have “toppled the government”.


Gerard Smith 7
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Global Issues, Oplinger/Bloomfield File, Box 52, Proliferation: Smith (Gerard) Initiative: 5/78–9/79. Secret. Copies were sent to Brzezinski and Vance. Stamped notations at the top of the letter read “JTM has seen” and “LD has seen.”
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVII, Western Europe.
  3. Smith, Hermes, and other U.S. and FRG officials met in Bonn on January 10. A report on this meeting is in telegram 1254 from Paris, January 12. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790016–1079)
  4. A report of the Smith-Jacomet discussion is in telegram 1423 from Paris, January 15. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840130–1770)
  5. Ibid.
  6. Smith reported this comment in telegram 1289 from Paris, January 12. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790017–0013)
  7. Smith signed the letter “Gerry.”